I played DOS2. I took barrels only for Fane, because he can't use potions. I've never used barrels to kill. So it's your choice. I finished game in co-op and not one of us did not come up with idea "oh, let's take barrels everywhere to make it easier for us".
I actually agree with this, but one also needs to consider that DOS2 as a whole was not really that tightly balanced around the existence of environmental cheese, it was balanced around what you could do with your actual skills. You could attempt using the same cheese tactics, but it wasn't really worth your time if you had the tactical thinking to achieve similar effects with a fraction of the time using your actual abilities.
BG3 has a much different context, where your standard actions and spells are a lot less powerful, while the concept of things like shoving, barrelmancy, and having party members sneak around to join battles late are also simultaneously far stronger than they were in DOS2 as a result (shoving and thus fall damage was actually NOT a thing in DOS2, barrelmancy damage quickly became outpaced by enemy stat bloat later in the game and were largely for creating field effects instead of being utilized purely for damage purposes, and having party members join battles late immediately shoved them to the back of the turn order for the entire rest of the fight). It also really doesn't help when a lot of bosses in BG3 happen to be standing next to instant death pits too.
So this creates the perception that BG3 is balanced around the cheese, which is not helped by the fact that we're locked to level 4 for seemingly the entire EA period, meaning we don't get to play with anything native to base DnD rules at level 4 that can even compare, aside from spells that interact with the cheese like thunderwave.